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THE Association for nepal
and himalayan studies

Celebrating 50 Years of Scholarship and Networking

Himalayan Studies Fellowships


2024 Winners

The Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS) was pleased to award one pre-PhD Fellowship ($4500) funded by ANHS as well as one post-PhD Fellowship ($4500) and one pre-PhD Fellowship ($4500) in Himalayan Studies funded by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) this year. 

ANHS offers its congratulations to pre-PhD fellow Manoj Suji (Concordia University), pre-PhD fellow Amrit Tamang (University of British Columbia) and post-PhD fellow Dr. Aghaghia Rahimzadeh (Independent Scholar).

This year's competition yielded altogether 46 proposals submitted by applicants from around the world.

ANHS offers its congratulations to:


Manoj Suji

pre-PhD ANHS fellow

Concordia University

$4,500 for the project Towards Multispecies Infrastructure: Unveiling Invisible Cost of Riverbed Extraction in Nepal's Chure Region


When the Communist Party of Nepal came to power in 2017, it popularized a new language of vikas or development through infrastructure development such as roads, railways, airports, and hydropower, exporting construction materials mainly to India. These infrastructure and economic imaginaries accelerated rampant riverbed extraction of sand, gravel, and stones in Chure, an ecologically fragile region in the foothills of the Himalayas, creating a new landscape of development. The proponents of scientific environment management also suggest that riverbed extraction mitigates floods, protecting communities. However, Adivasi Janajati and non-Adivasi people in the Chure region protest state-sponsored extractions as land, rivers, and forests are deeply connected in their everyday lives. Construction materials‚Äîsands, gravels, and stones from riverbeds are essential assemblages of infrastructure. The high demand for sand on a global scale has led to concerns about ecological disruptions. Nevertheless, riverbed extraction remains inadequately explored within the literature on infrastructure and environment. Framing riverbed extraction as an ethnographic subject, my research explores the invisible cost of extraction on affected communities. I build this research within the perspective of multispecies infrastructure, paying attention to how "involuntary entanglement" between rivers, landscapes, extracted materials, and interconnected lifeways become co-emergent parts of each other's infrastructure in the world-making process. Building on the ontological foundations of Science and Technology Studies and Indigenous cosmologies/"perspectivism," this research provides a framework for infrastructure and environmental studies in anthropology and Himalayanstudies.  


Manoj Suji is a Ph.D. student in Social and Cultural Analysis in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, where he is also a member of the Ethnography Lab. His research interests are situated at the intersection of political anthropology, environmental politics, infrastructure development, and resource extraction across the Himalayan regions. His PhD research examines the complexities between infrastructure and environmental politics with a case study of riverbed extraction in Nepal’s new (geo) political terrain. Before moving to Concordia, he was involved in the SSHRC-funded partnership grant: “Expertise, Labour and Mobility in Nepal’s Post-Conflict, Post-Disaster Reconstruction” research project with the University of British Columbia, Canada, and Social Science Baha, Nepal. Besides that, he was involved in various research projects in Nepal that include infrastructure, natural resource governance, gender equality, social inclusion, Sustainable Development Goals, maternal and child health, and foreign employment in coordination with several universities, such as the University of Edinburg, University of York, University of Delaware, Aarhus University, and development partners such as the World Bank, UN Women, The Asia Foundation. He also served as a program consultant for the Strengthening Sub-National Government Program at the Asia Foundation, Nepal. As co-author, he has published several research papers and journal articles, including in Current Anthropology, Collaborative Anthropology, Development and Change, Journal of Human Lactation, and International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters.  

Amrit Tamang

pre-PhD CAORC fellow

University of British Columbia

$4500 for the project Re-centering Indigenous Tamang Labor in Nepal's Mountaineering/Trekking Industry


My research delves into the experiences of Tamang porters in Nepal's mountaineering and trekking industry, focusing on how labor, the state, and Indigeneity intersect in their lives. Using my family's involvement in the industry as an entry point, I aim to understand the complex hierarchies and power dynamics faced by Indigenous laborers. Employing a multi-sited ethnographic approach, I will holistically explore the experiences of porters both within their home communities and as internal migrant laborers in the industry, examining how labor shapes their cultural, social, and psychological experiences. This study raises two key issues: the Western-centric narratives of mountaineering that focus on Sherpas but overlook mid-hill Indigenous groups like the Tamang , and the industry's historical reliance on marginalized communities' labor to benefit privileged communities. I argue that the historical exploitation and marginalization of the Tamang intersect with current labor dynamics, perpetuating inferior conditions for Indigenous groups within the globalized industry. In addition to ethnographic research, my visual ethnography aims to portray Tamang porters not as the lowest echelon of the labor hierarchy, but as central to the industry's very survival. This research contributes to Himalayan decolonial scholarship by centering Tamang porters' experiences and offering insights into Indigeneity and labor in Nepal. It addresses a gap in the literature on internal labor migration in the country's trekking industry, emphasizing the need for a more inclusive approach to studying Indigenous experiences in relation to labor and mobility globally.


I am a PhD student in anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, exploring the intersection of global adventure tourism and the demand for cheap labor in Nepal's mountaineering and trekking industry. In particular, my research centers on understanding how Indigenous Tamang porters experience and embody labor, taking into account their historical and ongoing contentious relationship with the nation-state, including forced labor. I consider this in conversation with the broader theme of Indigeneity, State & Power, and Globalization in Nepal and the Himalayas. 


Textiles and their traditional designs are an important part of the social and cultural norms and identity of Kinnauri tribal peoples of the Western Himalaya and remain an integral part of Kinnauri rituals and celebrations. While textiles woven on handlooms have been a significant part of tangible cultural heritage, their motifs and designs are an important aspect of intangible cultural heritage of Kinnaur. With modernization rapidly spreading through rural Himalayanmountain communities, however, these traditional weaving practices and motifs are in jeopardy of not being passed down to younger generations. As elder master weavers die, so will the Kinnauri indigenous knowledge of weaving practices and designs, which may have a significant impact on Kinnauri identity. This participatory ethnographic research thus proposes to collect and document indigenous knowledge of Kinnauri weaving practices and designs. Up to this point, Kinnauri weaving techniques and designs have not been collected, documented, or preserved. By working closely with master weavers, this research project will create a digital archive of Kinnauri motifs for future generations. The larger goal of this participatory project, designed at the request and with the cooperation of Kinnauri master weavers, is to revive traditional motifs and incorporate them into current textiles. The preservation of indigenous knowledge of traditional weaving practices and designs will support Kinnauri identity and cultural continuity. This research project will establish the necessary foundation for a larger project to create a sustainable weaving cooperative, specifically for Kinnauri widowed and divorced women who are faced with little economic options. 

In addition to Himalayan Studies Fellowships, ANHS offers the James Fisher Prize for First Books on the Himalayan Region and the Dor Bahadur Bista Prize for the Best Graduate Student Paper.

Details for all awards can be found at:

2023 Winners

The Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies (ANHS) was pleased to award 1 post-PhD Fellowship and 2 pre-PhD Fellowships in Himalayan Studies this year, each with a prize of $1,500 USD. ANHS offers its congratulations to:

  1. Post-PhD fellow - Diya Mehra, Department of Sociology (South Asian University, New Delhi, India) 
  2. Pre-PhD fellows: Shubhanga Panday, Department of History (University of California Los Angeles, US) and Hanna Geschewski, Department of Human Geography (Bergen University, Norway). 

This year's competition yielded an outstanding group of proposals representing 18 disciplines submitted by applicants from around the world.

In addition to Himalayan Studies Fellowships, ANHS offers the James Fisher Prize for First Books on the Himalayan Region and the Dor Bahadur Bista Prize for the Best Graduate Student Paper.

Details for all awards can be found at:

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